Current Affairs April 15, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of April 15, 2019 in Short Notes form for preparation of IBPS, Banking, CLAT, SSC, Railway, UPSC, IAS/PCS, UPPSC, BPSC, MPPSC, RPSC, TNPSC, MPSC, KPSC and all other competitive examinations of India.

1. The report on 'Political Leaders Position and Action on Air Quality in India 2014-2019' has recently released by a Delhi-based environment body - Climate Trends. As per report, Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur has been ranked 1st on the WHO’s list of 15 most polluted cities. Faridabad (Haryana) stood at 2nd position, followed by Varanasi (UP), which is the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The report claimed that the situation in Varanasi is deteriorating as its MP has focused on beautification and infrastructure. The Air Quality index (AQI) in Varanasi reached an alarming 490 in 2017 and 384 -- very poor category -- in December 2018. The report also noted that MPs of Lucknow and Kanpur -- Home Minister Rajnath Singh and senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi respectively -- have mostly been silent on the issue of air pollution in their respective constituencies. Gaya and Patna in Bihar are 4th and 5th on the list, while Delhi is 6th and Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow is 7th. Cities of Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurugram, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur are also on the WHO list of most polluted cities.

2. Two schemes of the West Bengal government for skill development and distribution of bi-cycles to students have won the prestigious World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS-2019) awards under the aegis of the United Nations in Geneva. The schemes are "Utkarsh Bangla" and "Sabooj Sathi". Out of 1062 nominations in 18 categories, Utkarsh Bangla got the topmost award and emerged a winner in Capacity Building category. Sabooj Sathi ranked in the first five as a champion project under ICT application: E-Government category. The "Utkarsh Bangla" project aims at creating a pool of skilled candidates who are industry ready, while under the "Sabooj Sathi" scheme, bi-cycles are distributed to students between class IX and XII studying in government run and government aided schools and madrashas of the state. Earlier, in 2017, the West Bengal government had received another UN award for its 'Kanyashree' project, a targeted conditional cash transfer scheme aimed at promoting education among girls. The WSIS Prizes is an international contest to create an effective mechanism to evaluate and recognise individuals, governments and private bodies for outstanding success in implementing development oriented strategies that leverage the power of ICTs as an enabler of the development.

3. Alice G. Vaidyan, the CMD of the General Insurance Corporation (GIC) of India, has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of her work to promote insurance ties between India and the UK. The Freedom of the City of London dates back to the 13th century and has since developed into an honour bestowed upon individuals who make an impact in the financial hub of London, referred to as the City or the Square Mile. The Freedom of the City of London is a very special and ancient tradition.

4. Astronomers have captured the first-ever image of a black hole, which is located in a distant galaxy known as ‘Messier 87’ (M87), through a network of 8 linked radio telescopes known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration. The black hole in the centre of M87 has a mass of more than six billion solar masses. The picture shows an intensely bright ‘ring of fire’ surrounding a perfectly circular dark hole. MIT Computer scientist Dr. Katie Bouman has been credited for developing an algorithm that allowed the world to see what a black hole actually looks like. The EHT is a consortium of more than 200 scientists that has been in the works for about two decades. The EHT telescope achieved the necessary firepower by combining data from 8 of the world’s leading radio observatories, including the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (Alma) in Chile and the South Pole Telescope and created an effective telescope size of the Earth. Black holes were first predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity and now, the first black hole photo confirms his theory. A black hole is a region of space whose mass is so large and dense that not even light can escape its gravitational attraction.

5. Rio Paralympics silver medallist Deepa Malik has been named the recipient of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship for 2019 in recognition of her inspiring achievements. She will travel to New Zealand as a Sir Edmund Hillary Prime Minister’s Fellow and meet with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as well as visit Paralympic sporting organizations. Here, she will work to promote sporting, cultural as well people-to-people relationship between India and New Zealand. Till date, she has won 58 national and 23 international medals and has been honoured with the Padma Shri and Arjuna Award. Deepa won the silver in shot put F53 event in 2016 Rio Paralympics. Athletes in F53 category can do only seated throws and they have full muscle power on their shoulder, elbow and wrist in the throwing arm. She recently joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

6. Professor Najma Akhtar has become the first-ever woman Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI) for a period of five years or until she attains the age of 70 years, She is also the first lady vice chancellor of any central university in Delhi. Ms. Akhtar has four decades of academic scholarship in educational leadership. She is known for spearheading international educational administrators' course for senior officials from 130 countries for more than 15 years at National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) in New Delhi.

7. Google has introduced a new open platform called Anthos to run and manage apps from anywhere. It is based on the Cloud Services Platform and would let users run applications on existing on-premise hardware investments or in the Public Cloud. Anthos not only allows customers to deploy Google Cloud in their own data centres but also gives them the flexibility to build, run and manage their workloads within their data centre, on Google Cloud, or other cloud providers (Multi-Cloud), without making any changes. Anthos will also let users manage workloads running on third-party clouds like Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.

8. To empower AGRI, MSME segment and small businesses, the State Bank of India (SBI) has signed the first co-origination loan agreement with PAISALO Digital Limited. It is the first agreement of its kind in the country that SBI has signed. This will introduce a platform for the last mile customer. Here, the loan ticket is designed at Rs 10,000 to Rs 2 lakh. The company expects to disburse 200,000 loan applications in FY20. The move is to enable the customers to reach with ease and use the platform for smooth loan disbursal and repayment easily. PAISALO Digital Ltd is a systemically important non-deposit taking NBFC registered with the Reserve Bank of India and has been in operations since 1992.

9. Shiv Das Meena, an IAS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre of 1989-Batch, has been appointed as the CMD of National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC). He will succeed Dr. Anoop Kumar Mittal. The NBCC is a blue-chip Government of India (GoI) Navratna enterprise and is headquartered in New Delhi.

10. India and Sweden have recently launched the India-Sweden Collaborative Industrial Research and Development Programme on the occasion of the Sweden-India Innovation Partnership AI for All Summit in New Delhi. The programme will address a range of global challenges through technology and innovation. The Joint programme is co-funded by Indian Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Sweden’s Innovation Agency – Vinnova. The new programme brings together the world class excellence of Sweden and India to address challenges in the area of Smart Cities and Clean Technologies and Digitalization / Internet of Things (IoT). Vinnova will provide funding to Swedish side participants upto 2,500,000 Swedish Krona as grant. On the Indian side, conditional grant of upto 50% with a limit of INR 1.5 crores per project to Indian project partners to be provided. This Programme is technically and administratively managed by the Global Innovation & Technology Alliance (GITA) on behalf of DST in India and Vinnova in Sweden.

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